Religion over faith

Apr 20, 2015
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Freedom of religion in America has always been a sketchy thing that is mostly defined by the dominant or most populace religious presence. We have a number of laws that restrict religious practices (animal sacrifice, drug use, polygamy, etc…) that are offensive to the ideals of what was once America’s predominant religious group, and those who have religious practices that deviate from that ‘norm’ have always faced restriction and persecution for it. A quick look at American history shows that very clearly.

Usually such restriction is couched in terms of “what is good for the community”, and while there is often some truth in that the fact remains that if the majority religion shared the beliefs that are being restricted it is extremely unlikely that the practices of those beliefs would be restricted or that such restriction would thought of as “what is good for the community”.

Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, and the Final Judge of man is no longer the dominant religious presence in this country and has not been for quite some time now.
Many who read this will think I am talking about things like Atheism, the new age movement, welfare, etc…, but those things are just results of a church that has long been in the practice of placing its faith in denominational doctrines and liturgies over following Jesus. Such things are the result of a church that has tried to get others to follow its doctrines and liturgies rather than or more than proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.

If all the people who have given their time, voices, and money to fight for a legal change (abortion, marriage, speech, etc…) had instead spent those resources and raised their voices to proclaim the gospel and make disciples as Jesus commanded in our own streets, homes, and lives would all of these other fights be so desperately and consistently failing?

Religion has been given precedence and is still being precedence over faith and in the vast majority of churches in America. It is a truth that is ignored as we spend countless days and inestimable resources fighting to make others do what we see as right. Many of the things we fight for are good things to fight for, but we have to ask the question: WHY am I fighting?

It may be a good thing to fight for or against, but are you fighting it the way Jesus wants you to, or does He even want you to fight it? Go to Jesus and ask Him what you are really fighting for and why you are fighting. Ask Him for wisdom in what He wants you to do.

Don’t fall back on the repetitive and often trite answers your church politicians and leaders have given you. However good or right those leaders may be we have to understand that when our days here are done we answer to God and God alone for what he have and have not done.
 
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Freedom of religion in America has always been a sketchy thing that is mostly defined by the dominant or most populace religious presence. We have a number of laws that restrict religious practices (animal sacrifice, drug use, polygamy, etc…) that are offensive to the ideals of what was once America’s predominant religious group, and those who have religious practices that deviate from that ‘norm’ have always faced restriction and persecution for it. A quick look at American history shows that very clearly.

Usually such restriction is couched in terms of “what is good for the community”, and while there is often some truth in that the fact remains that if the majority religion shared the beliefs that are being restricted it is extremely unlikely that the practices of those beliefs would be restricted or that such restriction would thought of as “what is good for the community”.

Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, and the Final Judge of man is no longer the dominant religious presence in this country and has not been for quite some time now.
Many who read this will think I am talking about things like Atheism, the new age movement, welfare, etc…, but those things are just results of a church that has long been in the practice of placing its faith in denominational doctrines and liturgies over following Jesus. Such things are the result of a church that has tried to get others to follow its doctrines and liturgies rather than or more than proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.

If all the people who have given their time, voices, and money to fight for a legal change (abortion, marriage, speech, etc…) had instead spent those resources and raised their voices to proclaim the gospel and make disciples as Jesus commanded in our own streets, homes, and lives would all of these other fights be so desperately and consistently failing?

Religion has been given precedence and is still being precedence over faith and in the vast majority of churches in America. It is a truth that is ignored as we spend countless days and inestimable resources fighting to make others do what we see as right. Many of the things we fight for are good things to fight for, but we have to ask the question: WHY am I fighting?

It may be a good thing to fight for or against, but are you fighting it the way Jesus wants you to, or does He even want you to fight it? Go to Jesus and ask Him what you are really fighting for and why you are fighting. Ask Him for wisdom in what He wants you to do.

Don’t fall back on the repetitive and often trite answers your church politicians and leaders have given you. However good or right those leaders may be we have to understand that when our days here are done we answer to God and God alone for what he have and have not done.
I agree. Many people will also trust in their religion rather than Jesus for salvation in the end. They will not be saved, I don't think. That is just my opinion.
 
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Recently our pastor has been warning our congregation and church leadership of the coming changes we see on the horizon. Gay marriage seems to be actively pushed by the media and all the "do anything we want" group du jour. This means penalties will be handed down for churches who refuse to marry gay couples. What those penalties will be are only suppositions as of now. Most likely putting pastors in jail would not sit well with most people. But churches losing tax exempt status probably will most definitely happen. So we must be ready to give a cut to the government before we maintain the meeting place, help the poor, and all other things churches do to benefit society.
Freedom of religion will include the proposition that only 60 - 70 percent of what you tithe will actually go to the church for missions and such.
God bless America.... until this happens.

See staff post below.
 
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...This means penalties will be handed down for churches who refuse to marry ...
This could be avoided by leaders simply just not marrying anyone. After all it is the government that legally authorizes marriage not the churches.

...But churches losing tax exempt status probably will most definitely happen. So we must be ready to give a cut to the government before we maintain the meeting place, help the poor, and all other things churches do to benefit society. ...
Given what scriptutre has to say about taxes and honoring governments/kings, I have never understood the furor over tax exempt status. Its nice for an organization, but there is really no biblical justification to support it.

...Most likely putting pastors in jail would not sit well with most people...
What do you think would happen if the church had no specialized/centralized leadership?

To put it bluntly, Big Moose, the american church (as a whole) does not operate in a biblical fashion. If it did most of the concerns you touched on wouldn't really be concerns at all.
 
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This could be avoided by leaders simply just not marrying anyone. After all it is the government that legally authorizes marriage not the churches.


Given what scriptutre has to say about taxes and honoring governments/kings, I have never understood the furor over tax exempt status. Its nice for an organization, but there is really no biblical justification to support it.


What do you think would happen if the church had no specialized/centralized leadership?

To put it bluntly, Big Moose, the american church (as a whole) does not operate in a biblical fashion. If it did most of the concerns you touched on wouldn't really be concerns at all.
What you say is true. Our history, though, has always honored the church and faith in God as a whole. Even our supreme law, the Constitution, ordains that no law shall be made to establish religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof. And taxing is supposed to be on business transactions and other economic profit. We have a rich history of people putting their lives on the line to oppose taxing of tithes and charitable giving.
One way around the marrying issue, may be giving up the endorsement of the state on marriages performed. Legally one could not be married by a pastor. The marriage ceremony would be only symbolic in the eyes of the state. That would be fine with me, even preferable. Although a baker must make a cake for anyone who wants one, even if the decoration on it offends the religious beliefs of the baker. Can you imagine having to make a satanic cake?
 
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... Can you imagine having to make a satanic cake?
I served as an army chaplain's assistant for a year. While he was a southern baptist chaplain, the job requires support of all religions (presuming it is legal and does not encumber the mission), so yes I can easily imagine being required to do such a thing.
I can also see how doing it could be a powerful witness to those who were trying to set the bakers up, just as easily as I can see it being an evil thing.
 
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Consider that religion (not all religions of course, but religion proper) is the response man has to God through His commandments, His wisdom, and through His living example. Religion, in devotion to Christ, is an act of faith. Religion and faith reconcile.

I agree that empty and false religion is another story. There are lots of false religions, and today, the heavy hitter seems to be the religion of modernism. The "I'm OK, you're OK" "Everything is relative" mentality demotes Christianity in action. From the vocation of marriage to the protection of life to the ability to practice and speak up for one's faith...these things, even to many Christians, is now considered offensive.

I had a conversation with a co-worker at an event we had which was held at a Presbyterian Church two days ago. She asked me about what I believe precisely and it led to us talking about homosexuality.
"But you can't expect your priest to speak up against homosexuality otherwise he will lose so many congregants," she said.
I responded, "I'd rather hundreds of congregants leave and the parish is left with only 5 people because he told the truth than it gains hundreds because he covered up the truth either through lies or not addressing it at all."

Many churches today, across denominations, are suffering because of the concern of feelings over souls. That's a real problem.
 
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Freedom of religion in America has always been a sketchy thing that is mostly defined by the dominant or most populace religious presence. We have a number of laws that restrict religious practices (animal sacrifice, drug use, polygamy, etc…) that are offensive to the ideals of what was once America’s predominant religious group, and those who have religious practices that deviate from that ‘norm’ have always faced restriction and persecution for it. A quick look at American history shows that very clearly.

Usually such restriction is couched in terms of “what is good for the community”, and while there is often some truth in that the fact remains that if the majority religion shared the beliefs that are being restricted it is extremely unlikely that the practices of those beliefs would be restricted or that such restriction would thought of as “what is good for the community”.

Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, and the Final Judge of man is no longer the dominant religious presence in this country and has not been for quite some time now.
Many who read this will think I am talking about things like Atheism, the new age movement, welfare, etc…, but those things are just results of a church that has long been in the practice of placing its faith in denominational doctrines and liturgies over following Jesus. Such things are the result of a church that has tried to get others to follow its doctrines and liturgies rather than or more than proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.

If all the people who have given their time, voices, and money to fight for a legal change (abortion, marriage, speech, etc…) had instead spent those resources and raised their voices to proclaim the gospel and make disciples as Jesus commanded in our own streets, homes, and lives would all of these other fights be so desperately and consistently failing?

Religion has been given precedence and is still being precedence over faith and in the vast majority of churches in America. It is a truth that is ignored as we spend countless days and inestimable resources fighting to make others do what we see as right. Many of the things we fight for are good things to fight for, but we have to ask the question: WHY am I fighting?

It may be a good thing to fight for or against, but are you fighting it the way Jesus wants you to, or does He even want you to fight it? Go to Jesus and ask Him what you are really fighting for and why you are fighting. Ask Him for wisdom in what He wants you to do.

Don’t fall back on the repetitive and often trite answers your church politicians and leaders have given you. However good or right those leaders may be we have to understand that when our days here are done we answer to God and God alone for what he have and have not done.
"Religion" is a scourge!

It has been used by Satan since the beginning for ONE reason......It gets the eyes of humans off Christ.
 
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Consider that religion (not all religions of course, but religion proper) is the response man has to God through His commandments, His wisdom, and through His living example. Religion, in devotion to Christ, is an act of faith. Religion and faith reconcile.

I agree that empty and false religion is another story. There are lots of false religions, and today, the heavy hitter seems to be the religion of modernism. The "I'm OK, you're OK" "Everything is relative" mentality demotes Christianity in action. From the vocation of marriage to the protection of life to the ability to practice and speak up for one's faith...these things, even to many Christians, is now considered offensive.

I had a conversation with a co-worker at an event we had which was held at a Presbyterian Church two days ago. She asked me about what I believe precisely and it led to us talking about homosexuality.
"But you can't expect your priest to speak up against homosexuality otherwise he will lose so many congregants," she said.
I responded, "I'd rather hundreds of congregants leave and the parish is left with only 5 people because he told the truth than it gains hundreds because he covered up the truth either through lies or not addressing it at all."

Many churches today, across denominations, are suffering because of the concern of feelings over souls. That's a real problem.
Agreed with the comment of losing people. May I say that I have always had the practice of saying what makes God happy and if He is happy I really have no concern on what the congregation thinks.

The old pastor one Sunday preached a sermon on love and said that we need to love all people, here on this earth, red, white black and blue. He then said ........ if you can not love and get along with black people here, what will you do in heaven............
"If in fact you do get there".

A regular church member and his wife met the pastor at the door and said to him......
"We will never be back in this church because of what you just preached on black people". The old pastor then replied.......
"Then it is obvious to me that you will not have to worry about living next door to a black person in heaven!"

Think that made God happy?????

John 3:16......."For God so loved the WORLD................."!
 
Jul 25, 2013
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"Religion" is a scourge!

It has been used by Satan since the beginning for ONE reason......It gets the eyes of humans off Christ.
I actually do agree with you. Satan does use religion many times to turn people from Christ, but it isn't religion itself that he uses, but rather a false form of it as he's the prince of lies and the prince of this world.

He also does the opposite in leading people to believe that religion, no matter what, is evil. He hates it when people become devout in their habits of worship. He wants people to believe they're pointless. I think a good thing to remember is that Christ never came to start a new religion or do away with everything. He came to fulfill Biblical Judaism and, with His time on earth, was a devoutly religious Jew. With the Levitical acts of religion were fulfilled, religious acts of the New Covenant were given to us by Christ as a way of continuing on with what had already begun.

I think sometimes we're all tempted to call religion wrong altogether since the dichotomy as of late has become "Relationship or Religion" but that's a false dichotomy. Not to mention being religious even takes great effort.

While I think you're right that Satan can and has used religion to trick people, he has done this with everything and it doesn't mean everything is literally evil -- it's instead the devil's twisting of something good. He will do all he can to not give himself away, even if it means taking something we all recognize as right and adjusting so that we are fooled. It means we ought to recognize when Satan is pulling our legs and when he's being taken down.

So I'm not convinced that there is or ever has been anything wrong with religion -- I still believe, maybe now more than ever before in fact, that religion has always been God's gift to man to help us respond to Him.

I'm actually glad you brought up the devil -- most of my devotionals and studies this past month has been focused exclusively on him. I'm preparing to lead a bible study on Satan, hell, and combat.
 
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Agreed with the comment of losing people. May I say that I have always had the practice of saying what makes God happy and if He is happy I really have no concern on what the congregation thinks.

The old pastor one Sunday preached a sermon on love and said that we need to love all people, here on this earth, red, white black and blue. He then said ........ if you can not love and get along with black people here, what will you do in heaven............
"If in fact you do get there".

A regular church member and his wife met the pastor at the door and said to him......
"We will never be back in this church because of what you just preached on black people". The old pastor then replied.......
"Then it is obvious to me that you will not have to worry about living next door to a black person in heaven!"

Think that made God happy?????

John 3:16......."For God so loved the WORLD................."!
I think the pastor was right and I give him much credit for saying what needed to be said. He's right that our love for God is required to continue on to his most cherished creation, mankind...which can be tough. But if someone openly says "I won't do it," as a man of the cloth, he has a responsibility to say "Well, this is where you are headed if you openly reject what God said."
 
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Im not that clued up on american history but the impression I get of america is it still is quite a religious country, people can worship anyway they please, but people do abuse that privelige which is why all these cults start in america. If there is some weird semi biblical cult, or even unbiblical you could trace its origins to america.
 
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Im not that clued up on american history but the impression I get of america is it still is quite a religious country, people can worship anyway they please, but people do abuse that privelige which is why all these cults start in america. If there is some weird semi biblical cult, or even unbiblical you could trace its origins to america.
America is still a religious country in a way. The majority of Americans identify as Christian (though whether they are or not is another question). While one can technically pray anywhere in theory, that's not quite true. The State has since been cracking down on religious expression and issuing fines and so forth to certain people. Praying public school? Forget it. And aside from what the State will or won't do, the individual persecution is another story. Tell someone that you are a Christian and on a good day you'll get someone who is OK with it, but then pray in front of them or express moral belief, they will take your head off for it.

Cults, which are definitely not uniquely American, has had an American influence (or vice versa) especially going back to the 1970s. The Davidians in Waco, Heaven's Gate in '97, and of course Jim Jones (which was American but ended in Guyana with tons of bodies lying dead from drinking Kool-Aid mixed with poison). The Church of Scientology is the cult of choice by celebrities and of course the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which, while the Mormons are a false religion of heretics, this group went beyond that and were even excommunicated by the LDS for their activity.
 
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JWs are prevalent in my country, as are mormons.

Nz has its share of cults as well, but many of the visible ones seem to spring from american teachings.

Over the years public schools have become increasingly secular, when they were actually originally founded by christians. Now new schools with exclusively christian values have sprung up. It depends on the Principals of the schools what values they will teach or allow in their school. Bibles in schools are allowed as weekly education for children teaching the bible, but some parents are opposed to it, so dont let their children attend those lessons.

There are some schools that wont have bibles in schools teachers though. But its up to the school. I do know the catholics didnt want anybody teaching the bible different from the way they taught and wanted exclusive schools for catholic pupils where they can educate on religion the catholic way. So that is why we have the public school system. I never met a catholic child in my school years.
 
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"I'd rather hundreds of congregants leave and the parish is left with only 5 people because he told the truth than it gains hundreds because he covered up the truth either through lies or not addressing it at all."
I don't disagree with this, but I can imagine how painful it must be to the pastor, and I know that it certainly is to the 5 remaining congregates. My wife and I belonged to a wonderful, non-denominational church. The pastor was a young guy (most of the elderly left simply because of that) who was on fire for Jesus and spoke the truth. There was no watered down message to tickle the ears during his sermons. Don't get me wrong, he didn't preach "fire and brimstone" every Sunday, but in addition to teaching us about the love of God, he also spoke of sin and its penalties. There was a great fellowship there, and you could feel the presence of God. But, because he told the truth, family by family, people stopped coming. There was an instance where an unmarried couple, she pregnant with his child, knocked on his door one night with no place to live. They would have slept on the streets. The pastor took them in, and let them sleep there that night - in separate rooms. The "church ladies" were in an uproar that he would allow an unmarried couple, living in sin, to stay at his house. (would Jesus have turned them away?) Even more left over that.

In the end, there were about 20 of us left. After a while, 20 people were just not enough to support the upkeep of the building and pay the bills - including the pastor's salary (he had a family to feed too). The church was forced to close. My wife and I lost the best church home that we ever had. Its probably been 10 years now and we still haven't found a church that makes us feel as joyful as that one did. We still miss that place.

I understand about not compromising the Word of God, and not preaching a watered down version of it. However, I can empathize with what pastors must be struggling with. Either water it down, or lose the congregation, and then there is no church. That has got to be tough.
 

Fish Catcher Jim

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I don't disagree with this, but I can imagine how painful it must be to the pastor, and I know that it certainly is to the 5 remaining congregates. My wife and I belonged to a wonderful, non-denominational church. The pastor was a young guy (most of the elderly left simply because of that) who was on fire for Jesus and spoke the truth. There was no watered down message to tickle the ears during his sermons. Don't get me wrong, he didn't preach "fire and brimstone" every Sunday, but in addition to teaching us about the love of God, he also spoke of sin and its penalties. There was a great fellowship there, and you could feel the presence of God. But, because he told the truth, family by family, people stopped coming. There was an instance where an unmarried couple, she pregnant with his child, knocked on his door one night with no place to live. They would have slept on the streets. The pastor took them in, and let them sleep there that night - in separate rooms. The "church ladies" were in an uproar that he would allow an unmarried couple, living in sin, to stay at his house. (would Jesus have turned them away?) Even more left over that.

In the end, there were about 20 of us left. After a while, 20 people were just not enough to support the upkeep of the building and pay the bills - including the pastor's salary (he had a family to feed too). The church was forced to close. My wife and I lost the best church home that we ever had. Its probably been 10 years now and we still haven't found a church that makes us feel as joyful as that one did. We still miss that place.

I understand about not compromising the Word of God, and not preaching a watered down version of it. However, I can empathize with what pastors must be struggling with. Either water it down, or lose the congregation, and then there is no church. That has got to be tough.
Hi John,
What ever happened to the pastor ?